Thursday, August 31, 2017

Explosions and Equivocations: SOCIOPATHS Reign in Texas

In Crosby, Texas, the flooded Arkema chemical plant is suffering explosions because operators allowed back-up generators to be flooded by placing them in ill-considered locations. You can read about the plant in this article from yesterday:
Todd C. Frankel, Avi Selk and David A. Fahrenthold (2017, August 30). Residents warned to ‘get out or die’ as Harvey unleashes new waves of punishing rains and flooding

....In Crosby, Tex., a chemical plant was in critical condition after flooding disabled its refrigeration system and two backup power generators, raising the likelihood that the volatile chemicals usually kept at cool temperatures on the site would warm up and catch fire or explode.  Arkema, a French-based maker of organic peroxides used in plastics, pharmaceuticals and construction materials, evacuated all the personnel from the plant. Harris County police were scrambling to keep people at a distance; local media said the evacuation zone had a 1.5 mile radius.  “We have lost critical refrigeration of the materials on site that could now explode and cause a subsequent intense fire,” Rowe said. “The high water and lack of power leave us with no way to prevent it.”
Today the explosions began, with local officials denying risk while federal authorities warn of toxic emissions:
Alex Horton, Mark Berman (2017, August 31). Blasts, ‘chemical reactions’ rock storm-crippled chemical plant in Texas as Harvey flooding persists. The Washington Post,

The Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office reported “a series of chemical reactions” and “intermittent smoke” at the facility; a county official said there weren’t “massive explosions,” and instead referred to the reactions as “pops” followed by fire....

While local officials described the blasts early Thursday at the plant in Crosby as “chemical reactions” and not “massive explosions,” federal authorities used dire language to describe the impact of the fumes from the plant.

The chemical plume in Crosby is “incredibly dangerous,” William “Brock” Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said at a briefing Thursday morning.
But the Harris County sheriff, Ed Gonzalez, claimed whatever fumes were released were “not anything toxic” — raising baffling questions about the level of danger even as authorities sealed off surrounding areas and imposed a no-fly zone over the plant.

I have no doubt that the plant's emissions are highly caustic and may cause respiratory, immunological, and neurological effects.

I find it incredibly irresponsible - perhaps even SOCIOPATHIC - for any official to claim that nothing toxic is burning. But the logic of the sociopath seems to be the guiding ethos in this particular case.

Esquire is reporting that the CEO of Arkema refused to describe the chemicals that would be released in a fire/explosion:
Charles Pierce (2017, August 31). The Chemical Plant Explosion in Texas Is Not an Accident. It's the Result of Specific Choices. Esquire
They played a tape of a conference call on which Dempsey pressed the CEO of Arkema, Rich Rowe, about what substances were in the company's plant that would be released if the plant blew, as it apparently did Thursday morning. Rowe refused to answer, which was his perfect right within Texas' business-friendly environment....
This unwillingness to protect the public's health through full DISCLOSURE of HAZARDS is abhorrent and sociopathic. People who knowingly hide risks to the public from their operations should be tried for MANSLAUGHTER.

Residents of that area and downwind of the plume better GET OUT while they can! Your children may be especially at risk!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Shut Down the South Texas Nuclear Power Plant Now!

The South Texas Nuclear Power Plant is in danger of severe flooding as rivers rise in the region. In particular, the plant is at risk from the rising Colorado River. Here is an image from Wikipedia:

The information available suggests that the site can only withstand 10 feet of inland flooding, as opposed to its capacity to withstand an ocean surge of 41 feet.

You can read fears of a Texas Fukushima here:
Baxter Dmitry (2017, August 28). Flooding Crisis At Texas Nuclear Plant Sparks ‘New Fukushima’ Fears. Newspunch Colorado River at Bay City is forecast to surge 27 feet in the next two days!
And considering the river is currently 9 feet above what was forecast for this time, according to the graph, this is likely to surpass the all-time record crest of the Colorado River in the next few days. That “100 year flood” the plant spokesman talked about which happened in 1913 crested at a level of 56.1 feet. The highest crest of the Colorado River at Bay City since the STP nuclear plant began operating was 24.04 feet in 1991.

Enenews has another discussion forum up with some very interesting comments concerning the possibility for the Colorado river flooding to be increased as it merges with the flooded Brazos river (e.g., see

As many commentators point out, the decision to keep the plant running is unreasonably risky given the potential hazards.

Keeping a nuclear plant running when at risk of imminent and major flooding is very poor risk management!